Any similarities between the above photograph and a police mugshot are purely intentional…
While I have attended a number of courses and workshops, I am essentially a self-taught photographer. Lots of study and practice, some successes and some failures, all add up to a lot of great experiences and some satisfying photographs. Since retiring from the worlds of engineering and business at the end of 2013 I now have more time available to spend on photography. Beyond making photographs, I have become more engaged with the photographic community. I have also started to give lessons and lead my own photography workshops in order to help others improve their knowledge of the craft and the art of photography. Preparing the workshop content and writing the course notes has proven to be a very interesting and valuable experience.
My interest in photography extends back a long way. When I was twelve years old my father leant me his camera to take on a school trip. From what I can recall the images I brought back were nothing to become excited about, but the seed had been sown. It was quite a long time before I could afford my own camera so I resorted to reading photography books and magazines from the local library, and dreaming about owning the latest and greatest cameras of the day. Little did I know back then that the camera is just a tool. It is the vision, intent and skill of the photographer that leads to the creation of satisfying photographs. After a couple of inexpensive used cameras and a new Russian made Zenith 35 mm SLR, I bought my first high-quality camera in 1975; a Pentax Spotmatic F. This was followed by a Nikon FM in 1983. I still own both of these cameras and occasionally bring them out of retirement. During this time I started to process Kodak Ektachrome colour reversal film as well as other types of film that employ the E6 process. Buying bulk film and processing it myself saved money and taught me a lot.
After years of film photography I started to dabble in digital imaging in 2003 with a little Pentax Optio 430. Film was still my main medium. It was the advent of the DSLR, and significant strides in digital technology that caused me to move away from the regular use of film in 2005. After a series of Nikon DSLRs I started moving towards mirrorless cameras in 2013 with the purchase of a Fujifilm X-E1. My idea was to use the lighter and more compact Fuji system when carrying my heavier Nikon gear was not ideal (air travel, hiking etc). In 2016 I decided to sell my Nikon system and complete the transition to Fujifilm X-Series mirrorless cameras. They suit my needs very well. The fact that the main shooting controls are in the form of mechanical dials on the outside of the camera makes them handle almost like film cameras. Muscle memory seems to have a long life; my Fujis feel natural in my hands. This might explain why I am making more photographs than ever before.
Cowichan Valley, British Columbia, Canada
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